Pittsburgh Technical Council

Straight to the Point: Directworks takes the guesswork out of sourcing and supplier management with cloud-based solution built for manufacturers

Straight to the Point: Directworks takes the guesswork out of sourcing and supplier management with cloud-based solution built for manufacturers

Article Published: August 31, 2014

By Matt Pross, Editor and Publications Manager

Many manufacturers continue to manage their supply chain with patchwork solutions, ranging from unwieldy ERP systems to disjointed Excel spreadsheets. To address this acute deficiency within the manufacturing industry, Pittsburgh-based Directworks developed a cloud-based sourcing and supplier management software solution built specifically for manufacturers.

Direct materials sourcing is a critical business function for every manufacturer as they rely on a network of suppliers to provide the components, parts, and raw materials required to assemble their products. Every component, part, and raw material that goes into a finished product needs to be sourced. Managing, tracking, and negotiating the best cost for each of these items is highly complex—and extremely important. Without the right tools and processes, the quality, cost, and time to market for finished products can be negatively impacted. The objective in sourcing is to choose the best suppliers and establish a high-quality, cost-competitive, and reliable direct materials supply chain. Just as operational excellence and a well-trained, experienced workforce are core to overall profitability and quality assurance, savvy sourcing and supplier management directly impacts product costs and, ultimately, the manufacturer’s bottom line. 

“Directworks is purpose-built for manufacturers,” Greg Anderson, President of Directworks, said. “Due to the complexities and specificity inherent to each manufacturer’s process and products, a one-size-fits-all approach to sourcing and supplier management is not sufficient. Now, manufacturers are demanding best-of-breed technology solutions that enable their specific business processes.

“By delivering a sourcing and supplier management tool over the Internet, Directworks provides cloud-based software economics with the on-premise configurability that manufacturers demand,” explained Derek Jeremias, Vice President of Research and Development. “Our multi-tenant architecture allows for a unique experience for each customer, optimizing ease-of-use and total cost savings.”

Directworks combines sourcing and supplier management functionalities with process automation to improve overall visibility into a supplier’s total cost, which results in smarter sourcing decisions.

“Directworks technology breaks down historic silos within manufacturing operations,” explained Anderson. “By providing a secure platform through which procurement, engineering and suppliers can collaborate, Directworks enables better outcomes as manufacturers ultimately produce higher quality products at lower costs.”

“On the sourcing front, our customers routinely see up to a 50-percent reduction in cycle time because we provide them with a more efficient way to collect and analyze the information they need to make data-driven business decisions,” Anderson continued. “The analytics and reporting functionalities of Directworks are very useful for new product introductions, because the information can be used to reduce overall product cost and time to market. These process improvements are essential for our clients, as they provide the competitive edge they need to win business on a global scale.” 

Directworks’ client list comprises a diverse range of global manufacturers across many industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive, oil and gas, consumer durables, and diversified industrial, including Cranberry Twp.-based MSA, a manufacturer of safety equipment. 

“Many of our customers are replacing other commercial or custom-built, in-house sourcing solutions with Directworks,” Anderson continued. “They love the fact that they don’t have to host it and that it is totally configurable to the changing demands of their business.”

Moving forward, Directworks is leveraging big data technologies to expand the platform’s functionality. Due out in early 2015, the next iteration of Directworks will offer improved usability, configurable workflows, extended analytics and easy integration, according to Jeremias.

Anderson was enthusiastic about continuing to build the software company in Pittsburgh.

“It’s very cool to be working at the nexus of manufacturing and innovation,” he said. “There is great talent here in Pittsburgh, and the work ethic is second to none. Manufacturers are tough customers: you need to know your stuff. Our specific focus and subject matter expertise paired with our Pittsburgh roots and great work ethic have really helped us win business in this industry.”

“We aspire to be the industry standard for sourcing and supplier management software for manufacturers,” Anderson continued. “We believe that we provide a means for manufacturers to be more competitive, and we like that. We are proud to be working with MSA and are interested in working with other local manufacturers.”

Directworks was founded in 2004 as Co-eXprise out of Ariba’s acquisition of FreeMarkets, and the company rebranded in April 2013. Learn more about the company and its technology at www.directworks.com.

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